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19 Jun 2006 : Column 1695W—continued

Table 2: Number of pensioners receiving pension credit in 2003-04 and 2004-05
Numbers receiving (million)





Notes: 1. The numbers receiving in 2003-04 and 2004-05 are derived from the Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study, and relate to the average number of recipients over the period. They are consistent with the figures used to calculate National Statistics estimates of take-up, and so exclude cases in non-private households, and take account of any backdated awards that were paid in respect of 2004-05. Estimates presented here will therefore differ from other published sources. 2. Projected take-up figures are indicative only and not comparable to the published take-up figures for 2003-04 and 2004-05, which include backdated awards of pension credit. Forecasts of future recipients are based on extrapolation of administrative data from the Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study. 3. The latest estimates of the take-up of pension credit can be found in the DWP report entitled “Pension Credit Estimates of Take-Up in 2004/2005”. Copies of the publication are available in the Library. 4. Estimates relate to private households only. 5. All figures have been rounded to the nearest hundred thousand.

Current forecasts suggest that around 2.5 million pensioners may be in receipt of Pension Credit in 2005-06 and around 2.7 million in 2006-07. However, these projections are indicative only and do not include adjustments for backdated awards so are not directly comparable with the take-up estimates for 2003-04 and 2004-05.

Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the take-up rate of pension credit was among pensioners in Newport, East in (a) 2003-04 and (b) the latest year for which figures are available. [77903]

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James Purnell: The information is not available in the format requested. Estimates of eligibility, and therefore of take-up, are not available below the level of Great Britain. Actual figures for receipt of pension credit at constituency level are available.

The number of households in receipt of pension credit in Newport, East is in the following table.

Household recipients

November 2003


November 2004


November 2005


Notes: 1. Caseloads are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. Parliamentary constituencies are assigned by matching postcodes against the relevant ONS postcode directory. 3. Recipients are those people who claim pension credit either on behalf of themselves only or on behalf of a household. This number is equal to the number of households in receipt of pension credit. Source: DWP Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many residents in each electoral ward in Stroud district receive pension credit. [77810]

James Purnell: The information is in the following table.

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Pension credit individual beneficiaries for wards in Stroud parliamentary constituency, November 2005
Ward Name Individual Beneficiaries( 1)

Amberley and Woodchester








Cam East


Cam West






Coaley and Uley




Eastington and Standish


Farmhill and Paganhill








Over Stroud












The Stanleys








Upton St Leonards








Stroud constituency total


(1 )The number of individual beneficiaries includes both claimants and their partners. (2) Only part of Wotton-Under-Edge ward is in Stroud parliamentary constituency. Notes: 1. Number of individual beneficiaries are rounded to a multiple of 5. 2. Because of 1 and (2,) wards will not always sum to constituency totals. 3. Wards are based on 2003 ward boundaries. Source: DWP Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (WPLS) 100 per cent. data.


Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his oral statement of 25 May 2006, Official Report, columns 1648-70, on pensions reform, whether the Department plans to seek to recover pension monies from private companies whose financial dealings were a major contributory factor in the collapse of an occupational pension scheme. [76829]

James Purnell: Legislation provides that, when a salary-related occupational pension scheme winds up, any deficiency in the pension fund becomes a debt on the employer. This is designed to improve the protection offered to scheme members when these events occur. It provides a mechanism for the trustees to be able to take action to pursue the debt. It also means that employers will be liable for a debt should the scheme be underfunded. The legislation is not intended to prejudice any other remedy the trustees may have in respect of any deficiency in the scheme's assets.

The Government believe that solvent employers should ensure that there are sufficient funds in schemes which are winding up to meet the full costs of the rights accrued by scheme members. Regulations came into force on 15 March 2004 that introduce a “full buy-out” requirement to ensure that where a scheme is wound up and its sponsoring employer is solvent, the scheme members are more likely to receive the pensions they expect. Trustees can utilise the regulations if their scheme started to wind up on or after 11 June 2003. From 15 February 2005, regulations introduced a "full buy-out" requirement for schemes whose sponsoring employer became insolvent.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his latest estimate is of the total cost of full compensation for those covered by the recommendations in the Parliamentary Ombudsman's report “Trusting the pensions promise”. [77336]

James Purnell: The estimated cost of full compensation for those covered by the Ombudsman's report was published in the Government's response to that report, laid before Parliament on Tuesday 6 June. This document may be found in the Library.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of private sector employees with final salary pension schemes in (a) 1997 and (b) 2005. [69458]

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James Purnell: The information requested is not available for 1997 and 2005. The following table shows the estimated number of private sector employees who are members of defined-benefit pension schemes since 1991:

Number of active members of defined-benefit schemes, (million)









Notes: 1. All figures are estimates and are taken from the Government Actuary’s Department Occupational Pension Scheme Survey, years 2004, 2000, 1995 and 1991. 2004 is the latest year for which data are available. The coverage of the survey is the UK. 2. Defined-benefit schemes are schemes where all the benefits (other than benefits secured by additional voluntary contributions) are on a defined-benefit basis. Such benefits are most commonly based on factors such as earnings or length of service. The survey does not separately identify final salary schemes, which are a type of defined-benefit scheme 3. Estimates include both open and closed schemes. 4. Private sector schemes are those schemes which are not classified as public sector by the Pension Regulator. Source: Government Actuary's Department, Occupational Pension Schemes Survey

Personal Capability Assessment

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the revised Personal Capability Assessment for incapacity benefit will apply to existing claimants who are subject to an ad hoc case check as referred to on page 48 of the Green Paper, “A New Deal for Welfare”. [75384]

Mr. Jim Murphy: The consultation exercise on the Green Paper ended on 21 April and we will be announcing our proposals shortly.

Post Office Card Accounts

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on what occasions (a) officials from his Department and its agencies and (b) persons acting on their behalf have undertaken cold-calling exercises to members of the public (i) asking for their bank details, (ii) encouraging them to switch their Post Office card account to a bank account and (iii) discouraging them from having a Post Office card account; how many members of the public were called for each purpose; and who authorised the making of such calls. [73877]

Mr. Plaskitt: The Department for Work and Pensions ran a number of small-scale Post Office card account pilots between 13 February and 10 March 2006. The pilots tested various approaches to moving people from having their benefit or pension paid into a Post Office card account to payments into a bank account.

The pilots were authorised by Ministers. I informed the House of the pilots in a written answer on 15 February 2006, Official Report, column 2187W.
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They were fully in keeping with the contract between my Department and Post Office Limited which states: “The POCA is intended to be an interim step for Account Holders who will be encouraged by both parties to migrate to Bank Accounts which provide services and opportunities not available through the POCA”. I have also placed a copy of the relevant part of the contract in the Library.

The pilots involved:

A month or so after the pilots had finished we re-contacted around 350 people across the three pilot groups to learn more about their experience.

We have just finished evaluating the results and have shared the results with Post Office Limited. I will place a summary report of the findings in the Library shortly.

Prison Release

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what action his Department is taking to improve the job prospects of those recently released from prison. [76514]

Mr. Jim Murphy: We offer support to offenders in a number of ways to improve their job prospects. Employment and benefit surgeries in prisons provide prisoners with interviews with Jobcentre Plus advisers prior to release to discuss employment and training opportunities. Our Freshstart programme guarantees a pre-arranged interview for prisoners who wish to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance as soon as possible on release at which jobs, training and benefits are discussed.

Offenders, together with others facing the most severe disadvantage in the labour market, are included in one of the priority groups within the Jobcentre Plus target and performance structure. This ensures our advisers are encouraged to provide particular help and support to people who have additional barriers to work. Because of their disadvantage in the labour market, offenders can also gain early entry into our new deal programme, which can provide them with the training and skills needed to get a job.

Our progress2work LinkUP programme is designed to help those with multiple disadvantage, including offenders and ex-offenders, overcome the particular employment barriers they face. Jobcentre Plus advisers and other relevant agencies refer customers to specialist providers who work with prisons and local probation services to encourage offenders to make use of their services. The programme helps people get and sustain employment and is currently available in 15 Jobcentre
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Plus districts. We expect provision to be available in a further six districts by the end of the summer.

In partnership with the Home Office and the Department for Education and Skills, the December 2005 Green Paper, ‘Reducing Re-offending Through Skills and Employment’, announced proposals for further work. For example, working with local employers to help offenders into jobs, and supporting Jobcentre Plus to focus on helping offenders into work rather then placing them on benefits.

Shared Care Orders

Mr. Bailey: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many parents in England are under a shared care order; [76133]

(2) how many parents under a shared care order are required to pay maintenance. [76134]

Mr. Plaskitt [holding answer 13 June 2006]: This information is not available. However in March 2006 around one in five cases with a calculation on the new child support scheme report that there is shared care of a child (of at least one night a week).

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